Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ready, set, go........

2008 is almost gone. Tomorrow begins 2009! What is going to be different in 2009? What are you going to do different? How will your parenting change as your PeeWee will be growing older? Are you ready for 2009?

We really have to be ready for 2009 - it will begin tomorrow no matter. So, for the last time this year I'm gonna ask you - Have you made your Yardstick List yet???

  • My challenge to you is to begin 2009 not only with your list of what you would like to see in your child when he grows up, but also a plan. As you go through this next year of parenting, plan teaching moments to teach each of the values on your list. Also, be sensitive to teaching moments that just happen in daily living with your PeeWee and seize them.
  • Look at your Yardstick list often. Update it........add to it..........highlight the values you have purposefully taught this year. Watch your wonderful little PeeWee grow into a child who honors God, and is growing not only on the yardstick, but also in his faith and his "get-along-with others-ness". Help her become the very best she can.
  • Journal......the successes, the growing pains, the fun stuff, and the dirty stuff. Create for your child a book of memories.
  • Throughout the year, read your journal. Sometimes we can't see the successes because we are lost in the trees of the every day. So let your journal give you a look at the overall forest that is your PeeWees growth. Sometimes you need that just to keep going and know that you are making a difference. Sometimes it will give you courage, sometimes some laughter and a smile.
Get ready! 2009 is only hours away! Parenting is more important than parties, schedules, work, and all the other things you will plan for this week - so spend some time planning it today.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Parenting with the Book

Sweetest story from yesterday in PeeWeeVille.........a dad came in to buy a Bible for his son. I think it was a Christmas present. What a great Christmas present! But the sweet part was that the dad had committed to read his Bible every day in 2009, and he wanted to read to his son at the same time. That is parenting!

When I was in college studying education, I learned all about how important it is to read to children. How important it is for children to see respected adults reading. How all of these factors shape a child's reading skills before they even begin to decipher words.

That is what made this story sweet........not only was this dad helping his son become a reader. But more importantly, he is going to help his son become a reader of the Bible.........a student of God.........a learner in the ways of Christ..........This dad was taking a very big first step in helping his son grow a strong faith for himself, by reading the Bible as an example, and by reading the Bible to his small son.

Whewwwwwwwww for an educator's heart - that was amazing. That is parenting.

By the way, here are some suggested books and kid's Bibles:
  • My First Study Bible
  • The Big Picture Story Bible - by David Helm
  • Parenting with Scripture - by Kara Durbin

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

From Mary Janes to a Wedding Dress

I hope you have made your Yardstick List. If not, I beg you to make it quick. You would be so surprised how fast your PeeWee will go from wearing shiny mary jane shoes to fancy wedding shoes!

For the last two weekends I have watched the parade of PeeWees dressed in their Christmas outfits waltzing through PeeWeeVille ready to sing on stage. I love it! Sunday, I literally closed my eyes and was taken back to a day that didn't seem long ago when my three were all dressed in coordinating outfits. My son looked so handsome in his Christmas sweater and khakis. The girls with shiny shoes and twirly dresses. I love mary jane shoes - every little girl should have a pair! But then I was rushed out of my daydream abruptly as I saw two of my kids walk into PeeWeeVille and they are both taller than me! Neither had mary janes or fancy clothes on, and the worst part.............they were adults! How.......when........did that happen!

One day you too will be old like me. Your kids will be all grown up. Will you have a yardstick list complete? Will it even be on paper? Will your kids look like the result of your yardstick list? We can't know the future. We can't really change the future. And our kids have their own freewill, so we can't make them be anything really. But we can do our best as parents to steward them as the gift from God that they are. We can have a plan, and in our imperfect way attempt to teach and train them as God commanded us to. One day........hopefully when I'm much older..........I'll stand before God and be accountable for my parenting. I won't be accountable for my kids' actions, but I will be accountable for the way I trained, taught, parented them. Do you have your list yet? Do you have a plan?

My oldest daughter gave up her mary janes many years ago. In a couple of days she will put on fancy white shoes and the most beautiful white gown. She will walk down the aisle and become Steven's wife. I blinked and it happened. She isn't playing dress up.........this is for real. Did I do my best? Did I teach her all I could. Did I fail miserably as a parent? These are my questions and concerns. It went too fast..........I need more time...........If only I could............

Your child is growing out of his/her shiny shoes faster than you think. Make a plan. Make a yardstick list today.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Yardstick List

If you go in my garage, you will see lots of marks up one wall. They all have a label - someone's name and age and the date. You will also see a pen yardstick beside them. It was such a big deal for my kids to measure themselves and watch themselves grow up the wall. Mark and I are marked there also. It was a true milestone when they each passed me up! There are even a few friend's names on the wall - some of those close friends of our kids that became "adopted family members". One day when we move out of this house, those marks will be the hardest to leave behind.

Just as we mark our children's physical growth, we should also mark their spiritual and social growth. Just like they won't stay little physically, we don't want them to stay small spiritually or socially either. The goal for all parents is to raise fully functioning adults.

Physical growth is fairly easy to plan. Feed them, keep them healthy, and have regular check-ups. But spiritual and social do we plan for that?

Make a list. Just like you know you want your child to grow larger, you should have in your mind what they need to be like as an adult. Make a list of all the traits you would like to see in your child when they are an adult.

For the last month we have had a survey on this blog of what you want your PeeWee to be like as an adult. Only a few of you responded, but the results were: trustworthy, compassionate, and happy. This may be the beginning of your list. Now what are you going to add to it? What traits do you want to help your PeeWee develop? What traits will help them succeed as an adult? What is the most important thing you want your PeeWee to have or learn?

So my challenge to you as parents is, make your yardstick list. Make a list of qualities you would like to see grow in your PeeWee as your PeeWee grows up the yardstick. Do it together. Write it and save it and use it as a teaching map. Do it today, because every day your PeeWee moves further up the yardstick. Without a yardstick list, you are parenting blindly and without purpose. You are leaving your child's spiritual and social development to chance. Make your list.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Recliner

We have a recliner. It's a Lazyboy. It's old and tattered and stained and blue.......and warm and cozy and perfect and full of memories. We rocked all of our babies in it. I nursed all of them in it. We read to all of them in it. We watched TV in it.........the list goes on. As old as it is, I'm hoping it lasts for me to rock my grandbabies in it!

We have a recliner. It's a Lazyboy. It's old and tattered and stained and blue.......and warm and cozy and perfect and full of memories. We bought it when I was pregnant with our oldest child. We moved it to 3 different states. We spent many nights in it with sick kids. We rocked our children every night for about 10 or so years in it. We missed it when we lived without it for a year. We moved it to College Station when our children began their lives as Aggies, so they could take a little piece of home with them. We still have a recliner. It's a Lazyboy. It's old and tattered and stained and blue.......and warm and cozy and perfect and full of memories.

Our hope as parents is that our kids remember the good and forget the mistakes. Remember when we were "getting it" as parents and forget the times we were wrong. Remember warmth and are drawn to the family when they go away. Is there something - a tradition, a habit, a phrase, a piece of furniture, a book............that feels like "home" for your kids? I'm sure there is. All families have them. Take hold of your "recliner" and don't give it up. Make it a habit to do a warm and cozy memory making thing every week with your PeeWees for as long as they will let you.

I asked my kids what they thought of when they thought of the recliner. I wanted to make sure the memories weren't just mine. After 22 years with the recliner, they said:
  • comfort, peace, calmness
  • sleep, relaxation, massages
  • Whenever I was sad or anything, Dad would rock me in the rocker and play with my hair and scratch my back.
  • I remember rocking Maggie to sleep when she was a puppy.
  • Mom and I would rock and wait for my bus to come.
  • We would massage Dad's back and brush his hair.

They may not remember everything that I remember. But they do remember.............We have a recliner. It's a Lazyboy. It's old and tattered and stained and blue.......and warm and cozy and perfect and full of memories. Do you?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Is Your PeeWee From Mars???

I saw some Martians in PeeWeeVille last week. They looked like this:

  • A 2 year old crawled on all 4's all the way out of the building

  • A 4 year old stood and made the loudest, most annoying sound possible for about 60 seconds straight, paused, then did it again, over and over.....

  • A 3 year old cried to get out of the classroom, then cried to get back in

  • Another 3 year old proudly announced to everyone in the hall: Mommy, I didn't bite anyone today!

  • A 2 year old gritted her teeth, then pushed her friend down the slide

  • A Walker with his right thumb in his mouth, and his left pointer in his nose

  • A Walker who cried for his Dad and then cried harder when Dad arrived to take him home.

Kids can be weird. Kids do act like aliens from another planet. Kids can make you say:

  • Why did you do that?

  • What made you think that was a good choice?

  • Where did you learn that?

  • Why did you do that?

  • Are you serious?

But when you stop and think about it.........they are pretty new to this planet. Preschoolers are months - maybe 4 years out of the womb, and we expect them to walk, talk, eat, potty, act like humans, and not be strange. I've been 48 years on this planet, and I still do things that make me go........seriously I can't believe I just said that.

Sometimes we need to give kids and each other the space to grow and mature and be who God created us to be. Sometimes we need to guide this growth. Sometimes we need to marvel at the wonder of God's creativity that we are all different and a little strange sometimes. Sometimes we need to correct Martian behavior because it is bad behavior. Sometimes these Martian outbursts provide the perfect opportunity to love on our kids and be thankful they landed in our family.

That is the hard job of parenting, deciding which to do, and then following through with it. How do you know which to do?

  • Is it hurtful to someone else? Then correct it
  • Is it cute or funny to others? Then laugh and go on, which sometimes means getting over your pride issue.
  • Will it prevent him from being the adult God created him to be? Then show him a better way to behave or communicate.
  • Is it inappropriate for her age? Then help her to put the behavior behind her and grow a little.

Is your PeeWee ever from Mars?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Simple Lessons

Yesterday I witnessed some very brave parents. I was watching the counter where new parents register. These parents were amazing. They confidently listened as the security procedures were explained. They looked around the building and made a quick assessment of cleanliness and orderliness. Then came the amazing part............with confidence, they
  • said goodbye to their precious PeeWee
  • gave hugs and told them they would have fun
  • left.......and went into the adult service to listen and learn themselves

And perhaps the best lesson they taught their PeeWee that day........TRUST because they returned! Those PeeWees were so blessed to have parents like that. Those PeeWees learned about God in an environment they were comfortable in because their parents had blessed it. Then, they learned trust, because mom and dad returned just like they said they would.

Wow.........lots of lessons in a seemingly simple exchange. That is the life with PeeWees. Lessons in every simple exchange and every simple activity, every single day.

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